Have you ever been burned in a relationship?
I have and before writing on this subject, I wanted to look online and see what others were saying out there in the world. When you talk about being burned, it’s often associated with being exhausted and burned-out, like it’s your fault for saying yes to too many things. Few articles are at the top of the list on Google and Pinterest when you search for actually being burned by a person (other than a boyfriend) or circumstance.
I know the raw-ness of being burned. The mental itch to want them to feel a sting too instead of choosing forgiveness and self-control as I heal. I know other people who have been burned. It’s hard being their friend sometimes, or all the time depending on the degree of the heat they have experienced. Though I’m not talking about physical fire, I am talking about the fires we face in life. And one of the hardest roles I have come to live in is being a mom who has been burned.
Being burned hurts, you feel unwanted, you feel like you wasted your time and energy. You feel unappreciated and like everyone has it better than you.
But here is what has been on my mind lately:
In my back yard is a gorgeous tree. I love this tree. In the spring it blooms these white little flowers, and when the breeze blows the little petals fall off. It literally looks like snow! It’s just as magical and not as cold, which makes it even more magical! Here, you have to see this, push play.
Amazing, right? Well, for the last two springs, I have stopped to examine this tree, and here’s why—
Two summers ago, we were using our fire pit to burn some old shrub from another dried bush we uprooted. The flame was reaching one of the branches that was between 9 and 10 feet high. The branch caught fire, sort of a smolder really, but the tree was burned. The branches were bare the rest of the summer, and I didn’t think anything of it.
This spring, two years later, I am looking at this branch, taking note that it isn’t producing anything and yet it is so pale in comparison to the rest of the tree’s beauty.
I have had over 300 people visit my home over the last few years. So often I hear “Oh I love this tree!” Or “What a gorgeous tree!” Not once have I heard, “What happened there?” Or “Why is it like that?” Has the tree been burned? Yes. Is the tree thriving? Absolutely, and beautifully too!
This tree is burned. It’s stunning. It’s sturdy. And it’s still standing!
As a mom I think the opportunity to get burned is increasing with the times. We are caring for little people who haven’t learned to show appreciation or to care back. (Who models showing mom care and appreciation?) We are living in a very open culture that is highly saturated with opinions and invisible pressures that we never asked for. All of the different fears, worries, and painful experiences we face, leave us asking “What happened here?” and “Why is it like this?”
Never mind asking harder questions like:
What about being a mom in heart? I’m talking about the ladies who don’t have a child to call their own.
Or, what about being a working mom who doesn’t experience mom-guilt and is wondering “Should I feel guilty?” Because you love your job and you are confident it’s where God is asking you to be and your kids are good.
Or, what happens when you are a stay at home mom that is not crafty, not good at chores, or clumsy? Honestly, workouts with toddlers as weights is not an option for some of us.
Life is hard. I have felt like the piece of wood that everyone around a campfire stares at as it crumbles in the heat of discouragement and loss. Watching it give in to the change of presumption and the mess of ashes.
But on the regular, I see the tree in my backyard and recently I have had to step back and ask myself, “Am I just starring at what’s burnt? Or, am I admiring the whole living thing?”
The Bible says in Psalms 1 that “He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
It’s easy for us to see our own burned branches. I have noticed in my own life that it’s really hard to stop and look at the whole picture— To recognize and be proud of the parts of me that are flourishing in this season, and to stop and see the work God has done holistically in the entirety of the journey I have been on with Him. I regularly slow down and thank the Lord for the blessings outside of me, but I don’t regularly stop to admire the growth, the health, and the beauty that God has created inside of me or through me. If you are a mom or long to be one, let me encourage you with this:
I see you.
You are stunning. In sweatpants, jeans or a dress.
You are sturdy. Even if you have love handles, or wear heels, or both.
And regardless of the flames and the heat that you have experienced, Girlfriend. . .
You. Are. Still. Standing.
It is my prayer that you would be refreshed by the Word. You are not alone, you are with little humans. (Which feels totally alone. I know!) You are appreciated and though you may be misunderstood and exhausted, there is a whole population of women who share in this journey of motherhood in all its complexities, and by the grace of God we can all thrive in the season of life we are living in.
Be encouraged. Take life one day at a time. Click here for some Bible verses. Please take the time to read and think about them.
Happy Mother’s Day!
P.S. Momma’s, check out my instagram account early this Sunday morning for a gift. (Supplies limited.)